Wednesday, December 31, 2014 6:05 am
A Chinese court will give the parents of a teenager wrongfully executed for murder and rape 18 years ago more than two million yuan ($330,000) compensation, it said Wednesday.
Hugjiltu, who was convicted, sentenced and executed in 1996 at the age of 18, was exonerated earlier this month by a court in Inner Mongolia, nine years after another person confessed to the crime, in a case that highlighted flaws in China’s legal system.
The court which cleared the teenager on grounds of “insufficient evidence,” said in an online post that his parents would receive 2,059,621.40 yuan in compensation on Wednesday. It did not explain how the precise figure was reached.
Acquittals in China’s Communist-controlled court system are extremely rare — 99.93 percent of defendants in criminal cases were found guilty last year, according to official statistics.
The use of force to extract confessions remains widespread in the country and defendants often do not have effective defence in criminal trials, leading to regular miscarriages of justice.
China has occasionally exonerated wrongfully executed convicts after others came forward to confess their crimes, or in some cases because the supposed murder victim was later found alive.
But the Communist Party is attempting to reduce public anger over injustices by lessening the influence of local officials over some court cases, and reversing verdicts in some high-profile cases.
A Chinese man who was freed after six years on death row following a wrongful murder conviction is seeking $2.4 million in compensation, state-run media said last week.
In Hugjiltu’s case, authorities interrogated the teenager for 48 hours, after which he confessed to having raped and choked the woman in the toilet of a textile factory, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported in November. He was executed 61 days after the woman’s death.
Hugjiltu’s family tried for nearly a decade to prove his innocence, according to reports, and the inner Mongolia Higher People’s Court officially began a retrial in November.